On Friday 3rd of October, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Industrial Relation called a meeting with all unions Federations of the country in the context of the "review" of the Industrial Relation Act.
During the meeting the PS announced that the government has the intention of replacing the IRA with a new legislation. She then showed to unions leaders the "heading" of the proposed new legislation and asked for unions proposals based on these headings.
Unions' leaders present at the meeting stated that it is not the first time in history that a government is proposing to change the IRA. This has been the case several time in the last 21 years. Either previous governments and political parties have betrayed their commitments or have blackmailed unions by proposing legislation worst than the present IRA. Union leaders also stressed that there are now attempts by the bosses to completely deregulate salaries and work conditions in Mauritius. They stressed that unless the right to strike is guaranteed, the replacement of the IRA could well be meaningless.
Bearing in mind the above mentioned points the quasi-totality of the unions asked the PS to transmit to the Minister and the government the proposals which have been developed by various Federations on the issue.
That prior to any replacement of the IRA:
1. The Constitution of Mauritius be amended to include the right to strike as a fundamental right.
2. ILO Convention 87, on Freedom of Expression be ratified by the government.
3. Immediate transitional amendments based on the three motions presented by Paul Berenger (now Prime Minister), Aneerood Jugnauth (former Prime Minister, now President of Mauritius) and Kader Bhayat in 1979, be brought to the IRA.
4. Recent Report of ILO Experts on the IRA which are being kept secrete be made available to all Federations.
With the exception of the representative of the FPU, Reeaz Chuttoo, all the Unions' Federations requested that the government gives an official response to the above proposals in order for them to define future proposals for a replacement of the Industrial Relation Act. They requested that a second meeting be held with the participation of the Minister for the government to respond to the 4 specific unions demands.
Ashok Subron was one of the representatives of the General Workers Federation (GWF)in this important meeting. Ashok Subron is also a Central Committee member of Lalit.